Ketogenic Diets – A Tangential Analogy

Imagine this (this is a really long analogy, so if you don’t want to read please go straight to the end).

You’ve just bought a new car. You’ve taken it to the track a few times and it runs ok, but you really want to get a bit of a tune up and some modifications to make it a little bit faster. Some of your friends at work recommend you go and see a garage that “do some unconventional modifications but I think they’re pretty good”.

You turn up to the workshop. You tell the guy you’re talking to exactly what you want and after explaining in detail, he stops you and starts speaking.

“See now, you don’t want a petrol engine at all. We’re going to rip your engine out and give you a steam engine! It’s lighter and better for the environment”
“But”, you reply, “won’t that make my car slower?”
“No absolutely not. That’s just a myth perpetuated by Big Oil. It will take a few weeks to get used to driving it, but eventually you’ll run more efficiently”
“Oh really? That’s completely news to me. I didn’t know that every other race car team out there is doing the wrong thing, despite having some of the fastest vehicles around”
“Exactly! Your car will be so much nicer to drive, and you won’t be doing all that nasty damage to the environment. One thing – you’ll have to fill the boiler with distilled water, and it needs to burn petrol to run”
“Needing to burn fuel to use expensive distilled water for energy seems quite wasteful. Why not just use a petrol engine so you don’t need to convert forms of energy?”
“No that’s all wrong. Please go and talk to this guy who is an expert on steam engines to find out the truth”
“Is he a mechanic?”
“No, he just really likes steam engines and says his car is much faster and runs better once we converted him over. He’s never been able to do anything on the track, but he promises me it’s better”

Seems ridiculous right? This is what happens if you’re a strength/endurance athlete that is preaching ketogenic diets for performance reasons. Now, this is not to say ketogenic diets are completely worthless; there are some good reasons you would follow one. However it’s overwhelmingly clear from the bulk of the research they aren’t ideal for those looking train and compete in the best physical condition they can be as a strength athlete.

My advice? Follow those who have unbiased scientific research to back up their claims – one of our go-to resources for anything nutrition related is Renaissance Periodisation.

Cliffs: find me a somebody who is fast or strong and keto, and I’ll show you somebody who would be faster/stronger if they weren’t.

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